Key facts about the impact of Brexit on EMBL

What you need to know about the impact of Brexit on EMBL

European Union flag. PHOTO: MPD01605 (CC BY-SA 2.0)
European Union flag. PHOTO: MPD01605 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The UK’s vote last week to leave the European Union came as a shock to many of us and has triggered a lot of questions from staff across EMBL, as well as scientific collaborators, alumni, supporters and friends of EMBL.

EMBL-EBI Directors Rolf Apweiler and Ewan Birney held an all-staff meeting at EMBL’s site in Hinxton on Monday, 27 June to address questions raised by our staff based in the UK.

In light of all these questions I would like to stress that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will have no immediate impact on EMBL, EMBL-EBI or on British citizens who work at EMBL across our five sites.

I would like to stress that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will have no immediate impact on EMBL

In a time of great uncertainty, here are a few key facts about EMBL that you should be aware of:

EMBL’s status

EMBL is an intergovernmental organisation and is not formally linked to the European Union; the UK’s membership of EMBL is independent of its membership of the EU. EMBL was established by international treaty between its 22 member states, not all of which are members of the EU. The UK was a founding member of EMBL and we look forward to developing our constructive relationship with the UK long into the future.

Scientific collaborations

EMBL was founded on the principle of international collaboration, and our success over the years is built on that. Our researchers collaborate intensively with scientists in our member states and beyond. The UK’s decision to leave the EU will not change this. EMBL scientists will remain active participants in all existing grant collaborations internationally and will continue to participate in consortia with other universities and institutes.

EU research funding

EMBL is funded directly by our member states, but we also benefit from a wide range of EU grants. The referendum result does not affect EMBL’s relationship with the EU, so we continue to be eligible to apply for Framework programme funding. This includes, of course, funding for EMBL-EBI which is one of EMBL’s sites.


EMBL recruits globally to find the brightest minds. All member state and non-member state citizens can work for EMBL across its sites and this will not change, thanks to the host-site agreements in place with all of EMBL’s host countries.

The broader outcomes of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the impact of this process on the European research landscape will require many years for clarification. In the meantime, EMBL will be actively working with international stakeholders at all levels to promote excellent science in Europe, including the UK. Rest assured that we will communicate any further pertinent information as it becomes available.

Tags: brexit, governance


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